Jumna's dark and limpid waters laved Yudhishthir's palace walls
by Veda Vyasa
And to hail him Dharma-raja, monarchs thronged his royal halls,
He to honoured kings and chieftains with a royal grace assigned
Palaces with sparkling waters and with trees umbrageous lined,
Honoured thus, the mighty monarchs lived in mansions milky white,
Like the peaks of famed Kailasa lifting proud their snowy height!
Graceful walls that swept the meadows circled round the royal halls,
Nets of gold belaced the casements, gems bedecked the shining walls,
Flights of steps led up to chambers many-tinted-carpet-graced,
And festooning fragrant garlands were harmonious interlaced!
Far below from spacious gateways rose the people's gathering cry,
And from far the swan-white mansions caught the ravished gazer's eye,
Richly graced with precious metals shone the turrets bright and gay,
Like the rich-ored shining turrets of the lofty Himalay.
And the scene bedecked by rishis and by priests and kings of might,
Shone like azure sky in splendourgraced by deathless Sons of Light!
Spake Yudhishthir unto Bhishma, elder of the Kuru race,
Unto Drona proud preceptor, rich in lore and warlike grace,
Spake to wise preceptor Kripa, versed in sacred rites of old,
To Duryodhan and his brothers, honoured guests and kinsmen bold:
'Friends and kinsmen, grant your favour and your sweet affection lend,
May your kindness ever helpful poor Yudhishthir's rite attend,
As your own, command my treasure, costly gifts and wealth untold,
To the poor and to the worthy scatter free my gems and gold! '
Speaking thus he made his diksha, and to holy work inclined,
To his friends and to his kinsmen all their various tasks assigned:
Proud Duhsasan in his bounty spread the rich and sumptuous feast,
Drona's son with due devotion greeted saint and holy priest,
Sanjay with a regal honour welcomed king and chief of might,
Bhishma and the pious Drona watched the sacrificial rite,
Kripa guarded wealth and treasure, gold and gems of untold price,
And with presents unto Brahmans sanctified the sacrifice,
Dhrita-rashtra, old and sightless, through the scene of gladness strayed,
With a careful hand Vidura all the mighty cost defrayed,
Proud Duryodhan took the tribute which the chiefs and monarchs paid,
Pious Krishna unto Brahmans honour and obeisance made.
'Twas a gathering fair and wondrous on fair Jumna's sacred shore,
Tributes in a thousand nishkas every willing monarch bore,
Costly gifts proclaimed the homage of each prince of warlike might,
Chieftains vied with rival chieftains to assist the holy rite.
Bright Immortals, robed in sunlight, sailed across the liquid sky,
And their gleaming cloud-borne chariots rested on the turrets high,
Hero-monarchs, holy Brahmans, filled the balls bedecked in gold,
White-robed priests adept in mantra mingled with the chieftains bold.
And amidst this scene of splendour, pious-hearted, pure and good,
Like the sinless god VARUNA, gentle-souled Yudhishthir stood,
Six bright fires Yudhishthir lighted, offerings made to gods above,
Gifts unto the poor and lowly spake the monarch's boundless love.
Hungry men were fed and feasted with an ample feast of rice,
Costly gifts to holy Brahmans graced the noble sacrifice,
Ida, ajya, homa offerings, pleased the 'Shining Ones' on high,
Brahmans pleased with costly presents with their blessings filled the sky!